Thursday, September 30, 2010

A little cheatin'

Yes, I'll admit, sometimes I cheat.  My 20 year old son still likes peanut butter and jelly (or jam) sandwiches.  Since our grapes are a long way from ever producing actual fruit, I decided to give "homemade" grape jelly a try with store bought, 100% concord grape juice.

I used most of this bottle... and it produced...

2 pint jars and 5 smaller jelly jars of grape jelly.

And since confession is good for the soul, last Sunday when I made the jelly and canned it, set it aside to cool and seal, well... it was like grape juice in the jars!  I've never actually made jelly except for Habenero Gold which set up quite quickly.  After a day I could see that the small jars were starting to set and finally after a couple more days the large jars too.

Hopefully this "PB & J" guy won't be disappointed.

Enjoying the "almost the weekend" part of the work week...
Chris at Red Gate Farm

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A surprise in my mailbox

On this bright, warm, sunny autumnal day.  I trekked down to my mailbox after coming home from a long day at work.  I opened the box to a surprise, a package.

Sent airmail, see the sticker in English, see the stick en francais (french speaking friends please forgive me).

What could it be?

So beautifully and thoughtfully packaged...

And sent so far....  from this wonderful, thoughtful friend I have made in the world of blogging, from another country... across the continent.

Lisa at Suburban Retreat sent me this wonderful thank you, just for passing on a few tips I have learned as a fellow new "bloggee."

How did she know, I was looking for the final, just right thing for my little autumnal tablescape?  That nothing had seemed to be just right, a little too this, a little too that.

This token of friendship, is the perfect finish.

So if you haven't been there, head on over to Suburban Retreat, tell Lisa you've come from Red Gate Farm and that Chris sent you... you'll really enjoy her beautiful home, gardens and her down right friendliness too!

To the nicest person I've never met, thank you Lisa. Hugs from afar. 

Chris at Red Gate Farm

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mixed up living room in detail

You may all be tired of my living room... but I thought I'd go for this detailed post of my mixed up living room and then you won't have to see it again... well at least until I get the Christmas decorations out!  I've been a fan of Pottery Barn's mixed style of old and new for many years, but my furniture was my first large purchase from PB.  I like to check out their catalogs, just to see how they style some of the rooms.  I also picked up their books a couple or years ago at a garage sale, I think I got 4 of the set for $5 bucks total.

Of course, you already have heard about the couch and two chairs from PB, but I've acquired a few other PB things over the years.  My glass and bronze metal table lamp which I scored on clearance in the PB catalog right after moving to Red Gate Farm plus a shade from a big discount store.  I've also owned the PB swirly-iron-candle-holder-thingy for 7 or 8 years, I've yet to meet a man that appreciates this piece... they all think it's a piece of well, junk.  When I got it for my other house it started out as black iron, then I sprayed it a silvery tone and finally a bronze tone - love spray paint.  Some of the holder cups have candles but 3 of the cups are filled with bamboo plants, I think PB showed it like that in one of their catalogs, back in the day.  Other accessories from PB are:  a small light that looks like a candle (a Christmas gift); a shadow box, two bronze picture frames from eBay and my curtain rods/rings (PB was the only some what affordable, LONG, LONG rod available).

Other pieces purchased just for this room are my floor lamp and end table from a local home store, The Greenhouse.

Very pretty and practical is the gas stove in the corner, a must for when we loose power and still need heat, in a beautiful enameled brown finish - this house does not have a fireplace of any kind.

Repurposed items include the "wall console" made out of an old refrigerate/freezer/cold cabinet probably from an old general store - my husband cut in down the middle, lengthwise and sanded the heck out of it.  The "front" or "public" side of the cabinet was quartersawn oak, the "back" side was fir with big heavy freezer style doors.  The other half (the back) is in our barn as storage.

My coffee table which I painted using the same paint as the inside of the cabinet, then added some cool turquoise Anthropologie knobs, was a freebie from my daughter, who got it from my sister in law.  A very dated 80's oak shelving unit - ya know that golden oak so popular in the 80's and early 90's, was also painted and takes up the bare space in the corner.

Vintage items (most of old stuff is more vintage than antique) include an iron plant holder I use for white pottery or pumpkins or candles; a Darigold wooden box to hold tractor magazines and catalogs; a small desk, from an old family friend, for an end table; drop front quartersawn oak desk, my grandfather's smoking  or pipe stand, used as a plant stand; small stool from an estate sale, topped with velvet and a tray, then used as an end table; tinted black and white photos, mostly of our local mountains; cool wooden yardstick, that's over a yard long;  an art deco styled brochure about Bellingham from the 20's or 30's; and lots of miscellaneous pottery.

Most of the baskets I have came from IKEA (which I love, my husband does not).  Wool area rug and throws were from Costco.  Curtains and pillows made by yours truly.

Hope you enjoyed the beginning of your week,

Chris at Red Gate Farm

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is there a finish line?

When it feels like nothing is ever finished at this ol' place, I look back at photos and realize we have accomplished a great deal.... inside and out.

When we moved in, grass grew right up to the garage.

 It was a daring move, but now we actually have a concrete pad and new doors.

We were surprised to find an existing raised, brick flower bed.

Now I have a lovely view of this bed of flowers when I stand at my kitchen sink

The same bed, is home to this gnome, who can continue to smile up at my kitchen window all fall and winter, long after the flowers are gone.

Hope your weekend was a great one,
Chris at Red Gate Farm

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Electricity in an old house

My house was built around 1920.  Obviously the need for electricity was very different in those days.  We have two bedrooms upstairs and exactly two electrical outlets, one in each room.  My bedroom... one.  The living room and dining room, they got extravagant, there are two in each room.  We are fortunate, there is one in the bathroom (yes, I only have one bathroom), two in our breakfast room and a whooping four in the kitchen - of which only two are actually for  use on the counter tops.  Thankfully, we now have power strips, or our outlets would look like that scene out of "A Christmas Story"....

We do of course, have ceiling lights, so there is electricity in every room/space.   A couple of our light fixtures are original to the house...

the living room and

the (enclosed) front porch, complete with those Edison style bulbs and yes, I paid $7.95 for each bulb, but we hardly ever turn them on so I figure they'll last for a long, long time.

Other fixtures are old, but not the "good" kind of old.

The main kitchen light, made to not have any kind of cover on it - it also usually takes a couple of flips of the switch to get it to come on, and yes, you can still buy those old round fluorescent bulbs;

the lights (there's a twin) in the back (also enclosed) porch and a similar light over the kitchen sink, functional but not very pretty.

We've worked on replacing other light fixtures as we've found them on eBay, antique stores/shows or our local salvage store (The ReStore).

Two porcelain sconces in the breakfast room (I can see I should have dusted before I took the picture) - eBay;

hallway light - The Restore;

our bedroom light - antique show;

upstairs area - eBay;

my sewing room - The Restore;

The only new light is the dining room chandelier, I thought it said "simple farmhouse" - Lowe's.

Most of the lights were an interesting mix when we moved in.  Mostly just bare bulbs.  The living room light had no "dish" on it we got a replacement on eBay.  The light over the kitchen sink and the two fixtures in the back porch did not have their glass in place, for some reason they were out in the garage.  As you may have noticed, I still need to paint around most of these fixtures since I painted the ceilings before the lights were found.  I also was not the one that painted all over the living room light fixture... but I do need to clean it up.

I would like to replace the kitchen lights with lights I found at Rejuvenation, such as:

this or

even this (last two images from Rejuvenation).

My husband has been working on new power lately, to the barn!  Hope you're all enjoying the weekend.

Chris at Red Gate Farm

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before the internet, there was the Sears catalog

The other day, I posted about this linoleum, that I loved.  It reminded me of a copy of a 1944 Sears catalog that I picked up at a flea market.  Remembering that it had linoleum type flooring, I dug it out to see what patterns were available back in 1944.  I not only found lots of linoleum flooring designs, but just about anything else you could imagine in that catalog.  Yup, back in the day, you could get just about anything from the Sears catalog. 



tractor tires


dog supplies



barn paint


books (Nancy Drew included... but no "Secret of Red Gate Farm"


the always important "Beauty Mirrors to help you stay lovely"

Coty beauty preparations (more lovely"ness")

baby chicks


and of course, the $1575 blue diamond jewelry... yes, $1575 in 1944!  In today's dollars that's about $20,000... from the Sears catalog no less.

I guess our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents weren't as behind the times as we'd like to think.  After all, they had the Sears catalog.

Chris at Red Gate Farm